Chag Sameach – Happy Sukkot

14 Tishrei 5781/October 2, 2020

As we descend from the spiritual heights of the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, we head immediately into the holiday of Sukkot. Starting this evening, we have the opportunity to ground ourselves and reconnect with another dimension of our Jewish practice. While we focus on our heads and hearts on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with intensive prayer and introspection, Sukkot gives us an opportunity to re-engage with our bodies. The experience of Sukkot is multi-sensory: We spend time outdoors in the changing fall weather. We decorate our sukkah to enhance its beauty. We hold the lulav and etrog in our hands, feeling their textures and taking in their scent. The physical and tactile experience of Sukkot can help ground us back in the physical world.

It is the great wisdom of the Jewish tradition that recognizes a multiplicity of ways that we can express our spirituality and Jewish identity. We are all unique and each of us will connect with some modes of practice more than others. Some of us feel most spiritually attuned when we have time for quiet prayer, meditation, or reflection. Some of us are most connected when we gather together in community. Others find their Jewish expression through study, or through acts of lovingkindness. And some of us connect through our experience of the senses, whether it is building the sukkah, waving the lulav and etrog, baking challah every week, or smelling the sweet spices at havdalah. 

All of these are available to us. The cycle of the Jewish year offers us the gift of change, an opportunity to experiment with these different forms of connection and find what “clicks.” 

I hope your experience of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was meaningful, even as it was not what we might have expected it to be. If you joined the KH community through our KH BaBayit program over the holidays, I am so glad you were able to be with us. May we all be blessed with health, happiness, connection, and discovery this Sukkot and in the year ahead.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!